Gearing up for a Tractor Pull Fundraiser

Get your motors running—vroom, vroom! You can’t help but take notice of a tractor pull—especially when the engines roar and the horsepower escalates. That’s why many organizations choose this event as their number fundraising venture. However, I don’t reckon many city folk have ever heard tell of a tractor pull.

What is a tractor pull exactly?

Tractor pulls are Motorsport competitions. They take place on a designated course made up of a series of heavy mechanically-winched metal plates that propel a sled forward along the course. The competing tractors take turns pulling the sled as far and fast as they can.

As the heavy metal plates winch, the load increases, causing the hauling tractors to lose their forward momentum. As a result they have to work harder to reach the end of the race. That’s why only the best built machines finish the race, leaving others with burnt out, or even ruptured motors.

The drivers at tractor pulls must adhere to a designated course marked with safety boundaries. These boundaries are taken very seriously, and touching or going over a boundary line results in an instant disqualification. These boundaries are not only in place to separate the drivers and machines from the pack, but also to protect the crowd.

In the end, the tractor that wins the race will be the one that makes it the closest to the finish line. In the event of a tie, or if more than one tractor actually reaches the finish line, a second track is set up with heavier weights at the tractors much pull this sled over an even greater distance.

If you’ve never witnessed a tractor pull before in person, you might be taken off guard by the look of a competition tractor. These aren’t your average hay bailers! Yes, these tractors are based on regulation farm equipment, but aside from the body and tires, these mean machines are built to achieve the greatest horsepower and torque.

That means engine modifications are made to the machine’s engine to achieve the desired 2,000 to 10,000 horsepower—or more! That means engine parts are added to tractors from drag and Motorsport automobiles.

Safety, however, is a top priority, and the balance between power with safety must never be overlooked. This is why most designers include a roll bar and engine kill switches to protect their drivers, should they be thrown from the tractor, or should the engine need to be shut down during a race.

Although farm-issued equipment is favored as the mean machines of tractor pulls, some competitors do brave the odds by modifying their semi-trucks to achieve maximum horsepower for more professional competitions—especially when a large prize pot is at stake.

Tractor Pull Fundraisers

Tractor pulls are very popular fundraisers, even though many think the noise is a little hard on the eardrums—hearing protection is recommended. Their popularity is celebrated by engineers and auto aficionados alike, as they admire the various classifications of tractors, and the fact that the winning machine is not always apparent from the stands. Other die-hard fans go for the occasional fireworks show—it’s not unusual for a tractor engine to explode under pressure.

If you’re not a fan of the noise and danger, you can still work a tractor pull fundraiser to your charity advantage. Try an alternative. Rather than the torque and supped-up engines, try using a regular tractor (no modifications) and take bets on how many bricks, cars, or bales the tractor can pull.

Or better yet, take some beefy volunteers from the crowd to see how many people it takes to pull a tractor. This makes for a great school fundraiser and can be great contest between the local football teams, or the fire and police departments.

Tractor pull fundraisers can be fruitful events as many of the pieces to the day can be attained for absolutely free! For instance:

  • Ask a local farmer for the use of their tractor or tractors.
  • Ask a local school, church, or farmer for the free use of their field to host the event.
  • Ask for a team registration fee—for instance the local fire, police, football team, men’s baseball team and etc, can participate when they pay a $40 entry fee.
  • Ask local businesses and farm suppliers to donate prizes in your various categories—for example, fastest pull, heaviest load, farthest pull, muddiest machine, most unique machine.
  • Charge an admission fee for audience members.
  • Set up a concession stand to raise extra money, but ask volunteers to bake or donate barbecue items to sell throughout the day.
  • Set up a spot for the kids to get away from the noise—for instance, set up a kid’s toy tractor pull or a soap box car race with prizes.

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